Production starts on four ‘Avatar’ sequels with $1 billion budget

The next 'Avatar' movie is expected in 2020

Reports have confirmed that production has started on all four upcoming Avatar sequels, with a combined budget of over $1 billion.

The long-awaited follow-ups to James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi epic have been in the works for some time, with the director declaring his intention last year to make four sequels to the original film.

Deadline now reports that production on the films began this week in Manhattan Beach, California, with all four movies shooting in succession. The report also notes how the shoot will be the most expensive of its kind, even more so than when Peter Jackson shot three of Lord of the Rings instalments together.

The release dates for the Avatar sequels were recently confirmed. Avatar 2 will be released on December 18, 2020, followed by Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021, with the remaining two Avatar films released on December 20, 2024 and December 19, 2025.

James Cameron terminator

James Cameron

In May, James Cameron spoke about the time gap between the Avatar movies. “It was a seven-year gap between The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, seven year gap between Alien and Aliens,” he told CNN. “It’s gonna be obviously more like a ten year gap between Avatar and Avatar 2. But Avatar 2 you are going to with not the promise, but the certainty of three more films beyond that, and that’s a very different concept with the audience. And a lot of the delay has been around creating that overall vision.”

Cameron has also compared the production of the four new films to building China;s Three Gorges Dam. “It’s an epic undertaking,” the award-winning director said. “It’s not unlike building the Three Gorges Dam. So I know where I’m going to be for the next eight years of my life. It’s not an unreasonable time frame if you think about it.”